By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) There's a so-called snitch everywhere - everywhere - in the dope game. Perhaps you're just a user. Maybe you're someone who buys a load at a connected price, sells a bit of it so you can buy your next load, and keep the rest for your partying desires. Maybe you're a dealer and a user. Some dealers are big-hearted and appreciate helping struggling people to get their act together in the game. And then there are some, who who are just in it for the business.
This story isn't about judgment on any of them. Hell, Kandit made half its name off the realness and the struggle of recovery. As a matter of fact, this story isn't a matter of 'them,' as much as it is the hustle of 'us,' whether your hustle is in that underworld, or in the open light of recovery.
Kandit has been pouring over local and federal court documents relating to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands over the past year. There literally are hundreds of news stories we could have published and broadcast informing the public who the informants are in each case. We choose not to.
All that would have done is caused further chaos in an underworld already kept down by the injustice of police and political corruption. Oh, you think your existence is immune to politics because that's not something you fuck with? Wake up.
Meth by the math
Start with what makes sense. It is estimated there are 40,000 meth users living in Guam in various degrees of usage - from the 50-plate newbie to the off island partier to the weekend warrior to the chronic 8-ball with two teeth left. Average their degree of consumption at a quarter of a gram (a 'quad') per day, and that yields annual consumption of 8,147.32 pounds of methamphetamine hydrochloride imported to Guam.
In 2016, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, working with the U.S. Postal Inspector seized 127 pounds of meth from the airport and the mail. The following year they interdicted 60 pounds - not even 1 percent of the supply that made it on the streets. Customs officials said on the record that the mail is where it's at.
Corruption in the drug trade
How in the world do the authorities not know that the vast majority of dope arrives at the seaport at Cabras Island? Why is 100 percent of local interdiction efforts poised at the mail system, where the smaller percentage of importation occurs? Take a guess at how many drug searches have happened at the seaport throughout the duration of the Calvo administration, and into the first 10 months of the Maga Haga's term. That's right. Carry the "1" in the math you're doing in your head right now, and the arithmetical sum = the regulators, the police, and the politicians are in cahoots with the importers. That's politics. That's public corruption.
The money you used to pay for your drugs? That's right. You just made a political contribution to the campaign of a politician. You're more involved in politics than you even know. Sell your nani for some drugs? Congratulations! Now you can be a Democrat or Republican, and a human sex trafficking statistic at the same time.
Crooked police officer Chris Champion may not be a senator; but he's absolutely a politician. He's also ugly. The truth hurts. My point is, police and public corruption are what have fueled the new drug trade.
Over the past month, what some of us understood to be the truth while others waved it off as conspiratorial paranoia, came crashing into our lives as a blunt reality. The arrest and indictment of Yona Mayor Jesse Blas for his corruption in a drug trafficking organization and his connections to and implication in a ring of corrupt cops involved in human sex trafficking forced us all to confront the hideous truth about the real power in the drug world.
It ain't no street gangster game anymore. It's gone corporate. Sold out to the big dogs. What makes you think now that the game is corrupted and bought out, that it wouldn't sell you out in a heartbeat?
Why is meth so expensive? That ain't the market. That's the magas.
How is it possible that a Legislature so vehemently opposed to gambling because of the senators's so-called family values, yet the gamerooms are packed with users and dealers giving all their money to the machines? All of that is legal, because senators say so. Maybe it's because politicians like John Torres and Gil Shinohara are the people who receive the money you put into those Liberty machines at the end of each shift. Check the senators and the governor's campaign finance reports. They provide everything from ceiling-capped limits of cash to in-kind contributions of canopies, chairs, coolers, food, and manpower.
Wait for the next front-page story about a meth-related robbery, or the assault of a tourist, or a crackhead's abuse of a child and, like clockwork, the senators and the governor will be calling for task forces and oversight hearings and the hiring of more police officers, who are related to their campaigns for office. Then the raids will come, and the joining of forces with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency with their crooked task force members from the Guam Police Department. They'll discover 16 measly grams of meth in the mail, throw the keys at the guy who picked up the package, and call it a night until the next front-page story. The gamerooms will be buzzing that night, taking all that money you tell your kids you don't have for that cheap soda they want at the Korean store down the street.
CSI Guam: Confidential "Snitch" Informants
Those officers don't follow your life. Those senators don't even remember who you are. How'd they find out your package was coming in the mail? Of the thousands of envelopes U.S. Postal workers distribute from the main facility in Barrigada to boxes throughout this island, they just so happened to pull yours from the piles and sniff you out. Sure there are markers to alert them to suspicious packages. Those markers exist on mailed envelopes of hundreds of other mail parcels daily. Last we checked, the U.S.P.S. cut down on their workers here. The postal inspector knew it was you, because someone told the police.
It couldn't possibly be your closest friend, your boyfriend, your sidescam, or your sister, you say? Lancelot died a long time ago. There is no honor left among thieves.
How is it possible that a snitch - a confidential informant of the GPD or the DEA - is working for them, yet continuing to move drugs? If they're watching them, how do they get away with it? It's simple. Those officers need those CIs on the streets. They're waiting for the next person they can turn, who can lead them to the next big bust and the next big headline. The politicians pay them well with promotions and gratuities off the public dime to secure that headline, especially before an election.
Oh, you're just a user - why would they waste your time watching you and arresting you for the residue in the pipe in your car? LOL. Because you get your dope from somewhere, and they're interested in that person. It isn't always about you, but they'll be sure to discard you and take away your freedom as soon as they're done with you. They'll take your dignity away, too, without batting an eye. After all, they look at us as just another crackhead.
A September 17, 2017 article by Jerick Sablan in the Pacific Daily News says that according to former police chief Joseph I. Cruz, "95 percent of the tips that resulted in search warrants and arrests came from the community." Indeed. That wasn't your neighbor calling the police. That was your friend, who got busted the day before. No one knew, while everyone believed his story that he fell asleep for three hours and that's why his phone was dead.
It wasn't dead. Cops were downloading your messages on Facebook Messenger, IG, and WhatsApp. That code you use for drugs, such as "stuff," or "where's my money" or "can you get my girl diapers?" The snitch already deciphered it for the police. It's now on the record and verifiable as evidence before a court of law. His freedom was on the chopping block, and he chose yours to sacrifice instead of his. Check the court records; it's all in black and white.
Court documents and filings portray an intricate network of snitching at all different levels. You would be surprised. Lest you believe these informants are doing the general population any favors, think again.
Most of them are back on the streets dealing drugs with a certain level of look-the-other-way immunity by police and prosecutors who need them to provide information on the next person. In an ironic way, the people whom the public should believe are interdicting the drug trade are the very people who allow it to persist - all for the glory of a headline, or the personal gain of politics, enemy extortion and their cut of the black market cash flow. As for the CIs, they're emboldened by the friendships they've made with the Chris Champions and Keane Pangelinans of the police world. They can 'mack' their suppliers, cheat their customers, cut their dope, and extort the street with their connections to authorities.
You mess with them, you get a batting ram to your front door before dawn and a search warrant and semi-automatic guns waved in your face.
The criminal injustice system
Ever been caught with dope? Wondering how your "tight" operation ever was discovered? Raided? Pulled over with some obscure excuse by a cop that your tail light was out, then all of a sudden they're searching your car as though they'll find the lightbulb underneath the passenger seat? Someone snitched on you. You'll find the facts in the snitch's plea agreement, if it hasn't been sealed by a judge. And if you take your case to trial, not only will that police officer have to account for a violation of your civil rights, if one did occur, you'll also have the right to sit right across your snitch from your seat on the defense chair to the snitch's perch on the witness stand.
But the system has the drug world so tightly wound around its perversion of justice that prosecutors rely on the perseverance of the injustice to your civil rights - backing up the silence of Constitutional violations and looking the other way, when cops perjure themselves in front of the court - that thousands of people gravitate to the rat trap that forces the poorest of us to bury our demons with smokes and liquids of poisons that make the reality of our personal prisons seemingly disappear.
That's the part that our government - for all its rhetoric about its concern about the high level of meth use on this island - never tries to understand. The solution to the meth problem isn't necessarily about the supply of the drug, as much as it is about the demand for it. Why do people do drugs? The answer to that question leads to the solution to the problem.
Demons and dopes
Meth isn't the demon. It's what the user tries to disguise the demon with. The demon is inside each addict's mind. The strength of the addiction, though tied to the science of the drug, is supported far more by the chemistry of the user's brain. Some people are just far more susceptible to it.
But that susceptibility very likely is tied to some trauma or disorder. The continued use, or the so-called excuse of being stuck in the addiction, very often is tied to stigma and the economic reality for that user. If meth abuse is such a big problem that we need to do something about it, then where's the money in the budget for the therapists and the social workers? Why do we spend top dollar on English professors, when clearly we need to be churning out social workers, nurses, and addiction counselors. We throw millions into the furnace called the Guam Mass Transit program that is eaten up by the well-connected Kloppenburgs on their antiquated bus system, when we could have started an Uber-type system and subsidized the transportation needs of recovering addicts who need to get to work, probation, and their appointments. Hell, some of them could even make money being the drivers.
And then there's the Department of Corrections. What a joke the politicians have made of rehabilitative services. The only people getting help from DOC, are its vendors, like the contractor of the PayTel system that charges 30 cents per minute of standard phone services from people who obviously can't work because they're busy being incarcerated. And 30 cents a minute? What is this, 1989?
People are mad at meth users
Why are people so up in arms about meth use? That answer is the sole responsibility of users, who get stupid. The chemical imbalance leads some to engage in highly illegal human sex trafficking. Don't panty down, brown. The feds will scoop you up in a heart beat.
Then there's the stealing that happens, when the price of drugs gets too expensive and the user needs to stay high. Of course people are going to be pissed, when you steal their money or their stuff so that you can go get high. You didn't earn that money or that cigarette or that phone. Go away; or better yet, go to sleep. No one owes you a case of spam.
Then there are the people who just don't understand that the demon isn't the drug, but what is buried within the user and shielded by walls of pride and shame.
Our basest desire is to confront what is simple and on the surface, rather than contemplating the more sophisticated path of reasoning and understanding that leads to wisdom.
For the bible thumpers and the judgers, that call to reason and understanding should be a wake-up call not to use the Lord's name in vain, when casting stones at users. The path to wisdom is, as St. Augustine called it, the path to God Himself; because, wisdom is God,